By Nick Candiotto
Colin Lupton knew an education would open up all the doors he couldn't -- he just needed somewhere to start.
"I was living at Eva's Phoenix and having trouble finding a job," says 21-year-old Lupton. "I needed to get my GED. If I did, I knew it would be much easier to get a job."
Enter the Employment Skills Development Program (ESDP) at St. Christopher's House.
"The program addresses educational barriers to employment," says Angela Barrass, employment counsellor. "More specifically, we help people get their high school equivalency -- the GED."
The ESDP at St. Christopher's allows participants to create their own schedule while preparing for the GED test, but it wasn't time that Lupton needed.
"He's a really bright guy, so he didn't need much preparation time," Barrass recalls. "He needed time to get the money together to take the test itself."
As Colin prepared financially, he shifted his educational focus to the Transitional Year Program at the University of Toronto.
"We felt it was the perfect program for Colin -- it would prepare him for university," Barrass says. "That was the ultimate goal."
The first step in that process was passed when Colin earned his GED.
"He scored really high on the test, but next up was the work involved in applying for the Transitional Year Program -- from applying for OSAP to all the additional paperwork," Barrass added.
But the eight months of work definitely paid off. Lupton earned admission into the Transitional Year Program -- and there have already been some changes.
"I'm living on campus now," Lupton says. "I attend two lectures a day. There are nine courses throughout the year, but I'm most interested in sociology, anthropology and philosophy -- that's the area where I'd like to continue my studies."
For more information about the various programs offered at St. Christopher's House, call 416-553-8285. To identify your neighbourhood youth employment centre for hiring made easy at no cost to you, visit the web site at www.oayec.org/yejd_locations.html
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